India’s leadership to strengthen IRSG
India has been elected Chairman of the International Rubber Study Group(IRSG) at a time when two of its prominent members —the US and Thailand — have left the organisation effective from July 1, 2011. India’s leadership role in the IRSG at this juncture is expected to strengthen the organisation which is the only common platform for NR and SR producers and consumers, as also the only comprehensive source of rubber statistics in the world. The IRSG members who unanimously elected India to head the organisation at a meeting in Singapore opined that India, being both a producer and a consumer of rubber, would be in a good position to protect the interests of both in the IRSG.
Sheela Thomas, Chairman of the Indian Rubber Board, will officiate as the Chairman of IRSG for the next two years. Incidentally, she is also the Chairman of ANRPC. The ANRPC Assembly held in Kochi in October 2010 elected India to head the organisation for the next two years. The fact that India now leads two major international rubber bodies is a tribute to the country’s growing clout in the global rubber industry.
World Rubber Summit to be a mega event: Meanwhile, a revised constitution for IRSG adopted at a recent meeting of the Heads of Delegations (HOD) of International Rubber Study Group(IRSG) seeks to change the structure of the organisation, its work pattern etc to make it more useful to the rubber industry stakeholders. The HOD decided to organise the World Rubber Summit as a mega event in Singapore during the next three years on an annual basis.
3 countries plan price stabilisation funds
The three major rubber producing countries — Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia -- are planning to set up national funds for price stabilisation in each country drawing on the allocation earmarked for rubber development, media reports say. A feasibility study is under way on organising the fund. The Ministerial Committee of the International Tripartite Rubber Council is expected to consider the study report in December 2011.
Evonik completes sale of carbon black unit
German chemical company Evonik Industries successfully completed the divestment of its carbon black activities on July 29, 2011. The sale of the business to the US-based Rhône Capital and Triton Partners is valued at over 900 million euros, the company says.
The European Commission had earlier cleared the proposed acquisition of Evonik’s carbon black business.
ARDL introduces new latex allergy tests
Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, Inc. (ARDL) has announced the expansion of its accredited tests for natural latex allergy product evaluation with the addition of the ASTM D 5712 and ASTM D 6499 standards.
The ASTM D 5712 is a chemically-based method for the determination of the total extractable protein content from rubber products. The ASTM D 6499 is an immunologically-based test method that specifically quantifies the level of Hevea proteins.
LANXESS joins global CSR initiative
Speciality chemicals company LANXESS has joined the world’s biggest and most rapidly growing initiative for corporate social responsibility (CSR) — the United Nations Global Compact. Axel C. Heitmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of LANXESS AG, said the company has already achieved its climate target for Germany by achieving substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, one of the established principles of the CSR initiative.
LANXESS aims to deliver a 10 % reduction in specific CO2 emissions and specific energy consumption for each business segment by 2015. Moreover, emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also to be cut by 30 % worldwide by 2015, he said.
ACS invites nominations for awards
The Rubber Division, American Chemical Society(ACS), is accepting nominations for the following six Science and Technology Awards for 2012: The Charles Goodyear Medal (sponsored by the Rubber Division), the Sparks-Thomas Award (sponsored by ExxonMobil Chemical Company), the Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology Award (sponsored by Lion Copolymer), the George Stafford Whitby Award for Distinguished Teaching and Research (sponsored by Cabot Corporation), the Fernley H. Banbury Award (sponsored by the Farrel Company) and the Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award (sponsored by the Ralph S. Graff Foundation).
The deadline for award nominations to be received at the Rubber Division is July 15, 2011. These prestigious awards recognize specific distinguished achievements of rubber scientists, engineers, chemists and technologists worldwide. For more details, contact the Rubber Division’s website, www.rubber.org.
Yokohama launches tree planting drive
Yokohama Rubber has started planting trees as part of the company’s ‘Forever Forest’ project aimed at creating a greener environment at the company’s facilities in the years leading up to its centenary in 2017. Some 60,000 seedlings indigenous to the local region are being raised at Yokohama’s Shinshiro plant. So far around 183,000 of the planned half a million trees have been planted at
its Japanese and international sites. In addition to planting trees, the company is supplying seedlings to other organisations and companies.
Glove manufacturers in Malaysia face crisis
The rubber glove manufacturing industry in Malaysia is bogged down by shortage of labour and disruption in power supply. In a dialogue with the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association said uncertainty in the supply of workers in the last two years had delayed shipments and put expansion plans on hold. The disruption in supply of natural gas was another issue raised by the association. The RM30 billion export earnings target by 2020 cannot be met if these issues are not settled, the association told the Ministry.
Birla’s Columbian Chemicals acquisition cleared
The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of the US-based Columbian Chemicals by Indigold Carbon, which is controlled by India’s Aditya Birla Group, both worldwide producers of carbon black. The merger will bring together two of the world’s four largest producers of carbon black and create one of the three largest companies in the carbon black sector.
Although both companies involved in the deal are domiciled outside of the European Union, the acquisition was submitted to the European Commission for clearance on May 5, 2011 as the companies conduct significant business in Europe.
Cabot to raise carbon black output
Cabot plans to invest more than $180 million to expand manufacturing capacity in some of the fastest growing regions of the world. It will expand capacity in plants in China, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina by the end of 2013. It will also add capacity at three facilities in Europe. The expansions will increase Cabot’s annual global carbon black output by about 15% or more than 300,000 tonnes.
Apollo institutes Fleet of the Year Awards
To recognise and reward the fleet operators who have been fuelling the growth of Indian economy, Apollo Tyres has announced the Apollo Fleet of the Year Awards, the first ever recognition exclusively for commercial vehicle fleets operating in India.
There are 4 Award categories which directly address business and operations on an overall level. These are: Fleet of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Leadership in Passenger Operations and the Small Fleet Operator Award. A special recognition has been kept in each category for the small fleet owner.
To add to this, 4 unique Award categories have also been created: Leadership in Safety, Leadership in Operations, Leadership in Customer Service and Leadership in Technology & Sustainability. After 4 regional rounds, the National Award ceremony will take place in September 2011.
Michelin completes 10 years in Romania
Michelin has completed ten years of its operations in Romania. To date, Michelin Romania SA has invested 265 million euros in Romania. The French manufacturer entered the country in 2001 with the purchase of the Victoria Floresti and Zalau factories operated by the Tofan Group.
Michelin erected a greenfield steel cord plant in 2003. In total, Michelin has produced more than 450,000 tonnes of tyres and 150,000 tonnes of cord in Romania during the past decade, says a company spokesman.
IISRP opposes move to list styrene as carcinogen
The synthetic rubber industry has taken exception to the plans by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to list styrene as a human carcinogen. The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers (IISRP) has urged the HHS not to list styrene as a carcinogen.
Jim McGraw, Managing Director and CEO of IISRP, said he does not believe there is a scientific basis for listing styrene as a carcinogen. While it is not clear how such a listing would affect SBR production, all facilities that use styrene would be required to provide much more information about styrene both to employees and to communities near the plants, he said.
Poor awareness on tyre safety in US: Survey
A survey conducted by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) in connection with the National Tire Safety Week in the US reveals that only 15% of US motorists know how to correctly check tyre pressure.
The survey found that 62% of drivers do not know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle, 53% believe the pertinent information is found on the tyre’s sidewall while 14% do not know anything at all. In total, only 20% of male motorists and 9% of female motorists were found to properly check tyre pressure.
Evonik sells carbon black unit to Rhone Capital
Evonik Industries has signed an agreement with affiliates of Rhône Capital to sell its carbon black business, which achieved sales revenues of some €1.2bn in 2010. The
transaction is valued in excess of €900m including the assumption of certain obligations, the company said in a statement. The carbon black business was previously known as Degussa. The carbon black business is being acquired intact as a whole, with its 1,650 employees, some 500 of whom are based in Germany.
GEO buys BASF’s Bisomer monomer business
GEO Specialty Chemicals has entered into an agreement with BASF to acquire the Bisomer monomer business (hydroxy methacrylates, multifunctional methacrylates (MFM) and speciality adducts) and conventional contact lens business of Cognis U.K.
The transaction includes a manufacturing facility in Hythe, England, that produces hydroxy methacrylates, multifunctional methacrylates (MFM) and speciality adducts, polyalkylene glycols (PAG) and PAG-based lubricants.
Patent for Pioneer’s Tyre Spraying System
US Patent and Trade Office has awarded US Patent number 7,943,201 to Pioneer Industrial Systems, LLC. This patent covers the company’s Robotic Handling and Servo Controlled Fluid Delivery system that offers several advantages over the traditional spray machines on the market.
The advantages include uniform spray coverage, controlled gun position, large material savings, less overspray, automatic adjustment to tyre sizes, less maintenance, quick change spray guns, no manual setup or adjustments and the latest technology, the company says.